Possible closing of Hilton Falls??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Possible closing of Hilton Falls??

    To everyone that is interested and everyone that mountain bikes should be. Here is an important meeting that may decide the fate of Hilton Falls and who knows what after that.



    Action Alert

    For Immediate Release
    11-23-04
    Contact: Lora Woolner
    [email protected]
    705-441-6901


    A new draft management plan for the Agreement Forests of Halton Region could greatly diminish bicycling opportunities. We urge all mountain bikers who ride in the Halton Region to take action.


    BACKGROUND

    The agreement forests within Halton Region have been used for recreational riding by mountain bikers for close to 20 years.

    Of particular interest are the tracts of land that form the northern and western boundaries of Hilton Falls Conservation Area. These include the Britton Tract, the Robertson Tract, the Turner Tract, the Mahon Tract, and the Currie Tract. The narrow singletrack trails that criss-cross these properties (referred to in the draft management plan as “spontaneous trails”) are potentially at risk.

    As part of the draft management plan, a land use classification system has been developed, breaking the forest down into “management areas”. Much of the forest in the tracts of interest is being designated as either “restricted” (all recreational activity discouraged), or “passive” (Hunting, fishing, bird watching, hiking, and skiing permitted. Mountain biking and horseback riding discouraged.) See pages 21 and 22 of the draft management plan.

    IMBA is calling for a reexamination of the potential recreational aspects of these properties, and is asking mountain bikers who ride in the Halton Region to do the same.


    WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

    1. Learn more about the plan:

    Refer to the background summary information below and download the Draft Forest Management Plan from the Region of Halton website: http://www.region.halton.on.ca/ppw/P...ts/default.htm

    2. Attend the open house:

    There is an opportunity to attend an open house on the draft management plan on Thursday November 25 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Mountain bikers that use the agreement forests should be there to ask questions and voice their concerns.

    WHAT: Open House on the Halton Regional Draft Forest Management Plan

    WHEN: Thursday November 25
    6:00pm-9:00pm (with presentation at 7:00pm)

    WHERE Milton Lions Hall (above the Milton Memorial Arena)
    77 Thompson Road, Milton, ON

    3. Provide comment:

    The Committee is inviting comment from the public. All mailed comments must be postmarked by December 10, 2004.

    Send comments by email to: [email protected], or by mail to:

    Paul Attack, MCIP, RPP, Senior Planner
    Regional Municipality of Halton
    1151 Bronte Road , Oakville, ON L6M 3L1

    Additional questions can be directed to Mr. Attack at: 905-825-6161, ext. 7214

    4. Talk to your councillor:

    Contact the councillors in your ward, and let them know how valuable the trails in the agreement forests are to your recreation.

    If you’re not from the Halton Region, make sure you tell let the committee know how important the agreement forests around Hilton Falls Conservation Area are as a riding destination for mountain bikers across Southern Ontario.

  2. #2
    Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!
    Reputation: Pucker Factor's Avatar
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    No good Damn!!!

    This totally sucks !!!!

  3. #3
    They say I have a problem
    Reputation: rbart4506's Avatar
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    Relax...

    They are not going to close Hilton Falls....

    What they might do is close and re-route trails that are in sensitive areas (ie. Five Bridges)...

    The problem will be infinding funds and volunteers to construct new trails...

    No offense, but a lot of the trail in the agreement forest runs through some pretty wet areas...especially the stuff out towards Guelph Line....These trails should hev been re-routed years ago...There is major tracks towards No. 10 Sideroad that are on higher ground and less suseptable to erosion damage that is caused by mountain biking/hiking/horseback riding...

    Rich
    "The meek shall inherit the earth"

  4. #4
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    Went to the meeting last night, was impressed with the presentation as well as the representation from the MTB community. Lora Wolner from IMBA was there and spoke eloquently on the situation and offered IMBA's resources for consulation and trail maintenance. I agree with the consultants who spoke at the meeting and said these agreement forests are truly unique in Southern Ontario.
    Even though the draft plan basically says no trails in areas zoned as "passive", it looks like existing trails will be kept, except in critical areas, where they will be re-routed. Part of the problem is these trails haven't been inventoried, but will be before the plan is implemented.
    Thanks to Lora for bringing this issue to our attention and thanks to everyone who showed up for their concern and support. IMBA deserves everyone's support for helping out!

    It was all warm and fuzzy when I left at 8:30, did I miss anything??

  5. #5
    Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!
    Reputation: Pucker Factor's Avatar
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    We left at about 9:10, and it was still pretty friendly at that point. It just seemed that the questions were starting to go in a circle, so we figured most of the issues had been covered.

    Yes, definitely a good turnout by mountain bikers, and the IMBA reps. really were well prepared.

    I was a little concerned about the suggestion by one of those in attendance that there could be a stunt park area built in the forest to deal with the liability and insurance issues created by unauthorized stunt building.

    I'm sure he meant well, but it came across sounding like he wanted to see some kind of Whistler Bike Park scenario in there which at this point, I think, is getting way ahead of ourselves considering we're fighting just to keep biking legal in the forest as a whole.

    Mike
    Last edited by Pucker Factor; 11-26-2004 at 04:52 PM.

  6. #6
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    just an update

    Hilton Falls Forest Plan - Update

    Source: The Canadian Champion

    Forest plan is almost done

    A plan to conserve the Halton Regional Forest that's been anticipated for years is finally on its ways to completion.

    A draft of the forest management plan was presented to local residents at a public open house November 25 at Milton Memorial Arena -- one of the last steps in the process before it's finalized and sent to council early next year.

    Everyone from cyclists to horseback riders who use the Region-owned forest that spans across Milton and Halton Hills came out to the meeting to hear more about the plan.

    "It's just so wonderful to see so many people who are interested in the forest," said Dale Leadbeater of Gartner Lee Ltd., the environmental consulting group that helped prepare the plan.

    She told the crowd the objective was to produce a master plan for the forest.

    "The purpose of the plan is to guide what's going to happen over the next 20 years," she said. "These forests are a reservoir of biodiversity for southern Ontario."

    The forest is broken down into 14 tracts that cover 1,645 acres. Prior to 1995, the area was known as the Agreement Forests and managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

    The plan's primary goals are to conserve natural heritage features and functions of the forest, provide opportunities for recreation, education and research where compatible and have efficient and effective forest administration and management.

    Partnered with the document is a 10-year capital plan, covering 2005 to 2014, and a five-year operating plan, spanning from 2005 to 2009.

    Strategies in the plan to protect the natural heritage include conserving soils and ground water, acquiring additional lands to enhance landscape connectivity and protecting areas of high conservation value forest.

    The document also said, "The use of fertilizers and pesticides should be carefully controlled and/or restricted from the forest tracts, depending upon the sensitivity of the various tracts to ground water contamination."

    The plan details recreational activities proposed for forest, which include hiking, birding, nature appreciation, cross-country skiing, wild food harvesting, snowshoeing, horseback riding, dog walking, hunting, mountain biking and recreational cycling.

    "Other activities include scientific research, nature interpretation, history interpretation and habitat improvement projects," the plan reads. "Restrictions are proposed for some activities, such as hunting."

    It goes on to say restrictions are considered necessary in areas that exhibit high sensitivities to human use, such as breeding habitats.

    "This will involve the co-operation of forest users, effective public education and possible modifications to current infrastructure such as roads and trails."

    This means some trails may need to be closed or re-routed to protect sensitive sites.

    Despite this, the majority of those in attendance at the meeting seemed happy with the plan.

    Such was the case for Annette Van Tyghem of Milton, who said she uses the forest for orienteering, which she described as cross-country running with a map.

    "I was very impressed with how in-depth it is," she said. "They're making an effort to cover all the interest groups."

    Igor Hoogendoorn, a mountain biker from Guelph who also uses the forest, said he thought the plan was very detailed and accommodating for cyclists.

    Written comments on the plan can be forwarded until Friday to Paul Attack, Senior Environmental Planner, Regional Municipality of Halton, 1151 Bronte Rd., Oakville, Ont., L6M 3L1.

    The plan is available for viewing at the Region's Web site and in the Halton Citizen Reference Library at the above-mentioned address.

    By Melanie Hennessey

  7. #7

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    It seems like all of the good trails in ontario are being shut down , like green wood conservation area

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